Court Junkie podcast episode on Eric Frein trial
I was a law clerk when the murder of Corporal Bryon Dickson and near-murder of Trooper Alex Douglass sparked a weeks-long manhunt that resulted in the capture, trial and conviction of Eric Matthew Frein. I won’t talk about anything I did with regard to the case (which was very little anyway), but I was living in the county seat of Milford, PA at the time and I can tell you the tragedy visibly saddened and infuriated several communities.
This link is to a fascinating episode of the Court Junkie Podcast which details the events in sensitive but vivid detail.
Bill Cosby charged with sexual assault in Pennsylvania
The TV legend is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University employee Andrea Constand when she visited his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. A probable cause affidavit filed by investigators this week alleges that Cosby “sought to incapacitate” Constand by giving her a mix of pills and wine that sent her slipping in and out of consciousness and left her unable to consent to sexual activity.
Ms. Constand settled her civil case against Mr. Cosby but the latter’s statements in a deposition taken for that case and released to the public by request of the press triggered the Montgomery County District Attorney’s obligation to prosecute Cosby.
Is sending porn illegal in Pennsylvania?
Dave Davies writes on his WHYY blog, Off Mic:
It’s right there in the state crimes code; it’s a third-class misdemeanor to “sell, lend, distribute, transmit, exhibit, or give away or show any obscene materials to any person 18 years of age or older…” (There’s a separate statute prohibiting distribution of pornography to anyone younger than 18.)
He’s right, you can find it at 18 Pa . C.S. 5903. Davies goes on to explain the difficulty of defining “obscenity,” a function of the concept’s basis in community standards which can vary from community to community.
Re-engaging driver with questions after saying he’s free to leave is a second stop
This is worth knowing if you’re a Pennsylvania resident or you find yourself frequently driving through the state. However, do yourself a favor and don’t throw it in the face of an officer whose behavior implies he or she doesn’t know about this precedent. If you’re innocent, keeping it to yourself will expedite the stop. If you’re guilty, comply with the officer and bring up this case to your public defender or private defense attorney.
Philly will consider adding LGBTQ protections to hate crimes ordinance
Randy Lobasso, writing at Philly Weekly‘s PhillyNow blog:
Last week, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown introduced a proposal along with Councilman Jim Kenney to add disability, sexual orientation and gender identity to the city’s ordinance. The proposal would add up to 90 days of jail time and a $2,000 fine if someone is convicted of hate crimes in addition to whatever other specific crime they’ve committed. It’s not much — but it’s something.
Lobasso’s piece is a great primer on the politics of bill passage, and he explains eloquently and with just the right amount of indignation why Pennsylvania has so far failed to address hate crimes, housing and other venues of discrimination with respect to the Commonwealth’s LGBTQ citizens. Go read it.